As my time in Lyon draws to a close, it feels as though time has cruelly sped up. I’ve begun to make a dent in the unexciting list of departure-related chores, but I still have a list the length of my arm of places in and around Lyon that I want to see (and of boulangeries I’m yet to try), though the time is disappearing – and fast. Fortunately, I’ve already whipped out the felt markers and drawn up a calendar to hold myself accountable to making the most of the remaining weeks in Lyon.
Having sniffled my way through the sixteen hour bus journey home from Bamberg at the end of April, I promptly fell ill upon returning to Lyon. I didn’t time it well, as finding a pharmacy open on a Sunday – or for that matter a bank holiday, something which unfortunately followed the aforementioned Sunday – is akin to going on a journey to find the Holy Grail. Needless to say, I didn’t fancy taking on that mission when I was feeling distinctly under the weather and waited until Tuesday. Traipsing to the pharmacy in a state of semi-exhaustion and then having to describe your symptoms (and respond to fast-paced questions) in French is less than fun when you’re running on 50% brainpower. I was sent on my way fairly quickly with a bag of over-the-counter medication, and was feeling back to normal a week later.
Whilst on the road to recovery, I had an afternoon of invigilating with possibly the most inept colleague I have ever encountered. Besides spending the whole afternoon marking his own papers, he also asked a student taking the exam if he could borrow a pen, made a total hash of the attendance sheet (which resulted in a student leaving the exam hall with their paper) and then left Pierre-Antoine and me to hand in all the papers to the secretaries. How helpful . . .
I then spent several days marking my share of exam papers, occasionally coming across some rather amusing little translations. (Entertainment was guaranteed, since the text was all about Donald Trump.) I couldn’t help but smile at one student’s rendering of excès bureaucratiques as ‘office overdoses’. Another student clearly knew their slang, but misused it spectacularly: ‘By 2014, Donald Trump was pissing against “the war against coalt [sic] lead [sic] by Obama”’ (Dès 2014, Donald Trump s’insurgeait contre « la guerre contre le charbon menée par Obama ».) As I taught an LEA3 module, I also found myself assessing more oral exams – this time on Brexit. Having spent days learning the syllabus on the special relationship between the US and the UK in order to assess students’ oral exams last term, it’s safe to say that I found it a lot easier to prepare for assessing students on Brexit this semester.
With time running out, I’ve been making a conscious effort to see more of the city itself. I’ve now seen all there is to see with my Carte Jeune Musée, which is arguably one of the best investments I’ve made during my time in Lyon. For the princely sum of €7, I could visit each of Lyon’s municipal museums once (and sometimes skip the queues). Of the four museums I visited this month, the Musée de l’Imprimerie et de la Communication Graphique was by far my favourite (mostly due to its temporary exhibition on the bande dessinée), closely followed by the Musée de l’Automobile Henri Malartre (which had a particularly nice collection of penny farthings). A more in-depth post on these cultural gems is coming to a screen near you soon! (Read: Sunday.)
Having thoroughly enjoyed my solo hike to the summit of Crêt de la Perdrix at the end of April, I took myself off to Saint Chamond once again for another taste of the Parc Naturel Régional du Pilat. This time, I plotted a route through the foothills of the natural park to Rive-de-Gier via Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez, another of France’s prettiest villages. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, though as per my legs seem to be feeling otherwise. (Maybe that has something to do with the fact the hike was thirty one kilometres long and the thermometer was at almost 25°C.) More to come on this little jaunt in due course.
Last week, the Parc de la Tête d’Or played host to Open Parc, a new event on the 2017 ATP World Tour calendar. Qualifying matches on the opening day were free to watch on any court, and there was no charge to watch matches on Courts 1 and 2 for the duration of the tournament. Naturally, I was only too happy to plonk myself in the sunshine for several days over the course of that week and watch some tennis on clay! I saw a mixture of singles and doubles matches, including Kyle Edmund (the only Brit in the tournament, to my knowledge) and Nick Kyrgios (who just about maintained control of his temper).
With temperatures now hovering around 25°C most days, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the park, either with my books or picnicking with friends. The Jardin Botanique, located within the Parc de la Tête d’Or, is looking particularly impressive at the moment, with the rose garden in bloom and other plants back in the open after spending the winter months in the greenhouses.
May was rounded off with a long weekend in Paris, planned around a trip to Roland Garros. Once I discovered I’d be spending this year in France, I set my heart on spending a day at the French Open; fortunately, it lived up to expectations, even though the sweltering heat made us feel a little uncomfortable at times. Laurence and I also made it out to Versailles (which for us felt just a wee bit overhyped) and Giverny (a spot which had been on my to-see list for quite some time), alongside clocking up thousands of steps wandering round the metropolis itself. I’ll save all the details of this trip for future posts, which in all likelihood won’t be up for another month or so.